The Relationship Between Back Pain and Obesity

The Relationship Between Back Pain and Obesity

Obesity is considered as a disease as defined by medical experts. Obesity and being overweight is something that should be taken seriously because it affects not just adults but the children as well. While most people know that obesity is a contributing factor to the development of high blood pressure, colon cancer, and heart disease, did you know that obesity also has a direct contribution to people who experience back pain?

How Obesity Contributes to Back Pain

Being overweight or being obese does have a significant contribution to symptoms that are associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc diseases and osteoporosis: these are some of the common back pain diseases most people experience. But most people do not know that obesity has a significant contribution to these back pain symptoms and haven’t factored obesity in as a cause of their pain and discomfort.

How Obesity Affects the Spine

A person’s spine is genetically designed to carry the weight of the body. Aside from that, the spine is also responsible for distributing the loads encountered during activities and rest. When you force the body to carry excess weight, the spine is forced to assimilate the burden. In turn, this leads to structural compromise and may damage the spine. The lumbar spine or the low back is the region of the spine that is most vulnerable to the effects of being overweight or obese.

To compensate for the extra weight, the spine can become tilted and unevenly stressed. The result is that the back loses its proper support and develops an unnatural curvature.

In addition, people who already have pain and back problems are aggravated by obesity. People who have extra weight in the abdomen are mostly affected because their excess weight pulls their pelvis forward. The excess weight also strains the lower back, thus, creates lower back pain.

The American Obesity Foundation reported that women who have large waist size or obese are at risk for lower back pain, in particular.

Why Exercise is Crucial

Poor flexibility as well as weak muscles in the pelvis, back and thighs are just some of the common problems that result from lack of exercise. When you lack exercise, the curve of the lower back increases and resulting in pelvis tilting too far forward. Furthermore, as a person’s posture weakens, the other regions of his/her spine such as the neck can become painful as well.

Is Age-Related to Back Pain?

It is true that as a person’s body ages, the spinal anatomy also changes. However, for people who are obese or overweight, chances are you already have or will have back pain. The following are some of the back pain conditions a person may develop.


An individual’s unhealthy posture leads to neck and back pain. The treatment for this is through a level of physical fitness in order to properly support the spine.

Low Back Pain

A person who already has an existing low back pain may be aggravated if he/she is obese.


When a person’s vertebral body is compromised, the body’s structural architecture is at risk for fracture. Vertebral fractures can be extremely disabling and painful.

What can you do about it?

Exercise is one of the most important keys to reduce back pain. Reducing weight not only helps lower the back pain, but it also reduces the risk of having heart disease and diabetes.

Here are some of the actions you may need to take if you suffer from back pain and you’re obese:

Read up on stretches and exercises. Not only can this help you lose weight but also can strengthen the ab muscles, lower back and improves flexibility as well.

Avoid high impact sports. Sports such as soccer, basketball, and football can put a lot of pressure and stress on a person’s spine due to the high-impact movements needed to use. Playing some of the sports is fine for people who have moderate back pain. Just make sure to seek advice from the doctor before participating in any of these sports in order to make sure it won’t aggravate any further injuries.

Get moving even if it means starting small. Typical and everyday activities such as biking, swimming and walking not only help lose weight but also strengthen the core. The North Spine Society suggested that adding 20 minutes of light exercise daily could actually lower the risk of having back pain by 32{fff707ae42ef306912f73c8128f67a8df50678b90f429db0ae40d2633a642e8c}.

Eat well and deliberately. A person who is serious about losing weight should burn off more calories than what he/she takes in. Avoid eating unnecessary foods and always watch food portions in order to lose weight and not aggravate or develop back pain.

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